May 8, 2014

Jaguars pull first surprise, taking Bortles at No. 3

Draft notes

The Jacksonville Jaguars made the first surprise selection in the NFL Draft by choosing UCF quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick.

The Jaguars took Bortles over fellow signal callers Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, as well as dynamic receiver Sammy Watkins and versatile defensive end Khalil Mack.

Jacksonville has long needed a quarterback since taking Byron Leftwich in 2003 and Blaine Gabbert in 2011. But general manager Dave Caldwell made it seem like drafting a quarterback early was a long shot, saying Friday that “I think the majority of this [quarterback] class has a ways to go.”

The 6-foot-5 Bortles completed 68 percent of his passes last season for 3,581 yards, with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Three quarterbacks were taken in the first round. Manziel was didn’t go until the 22nd pick to Cleveland, and Bridgewater went 32nd, the last pick in the first round, to Minnesota.

Saints take receiver

New Orleans drafted Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks 20th overall after trading with Arizona to move up from the 27th slot in the first round.

In addition to the 27th overall pick, the Saints also sent their third-round pick, the 91st overall, to the Cardinals.

The Saints ranked second in the NFL in passing last year, but have released receiver Lance Moore and traded running back Darren Sproles, who was also a receiving threat. Cooks caught 128 passes for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013, when he won the Biletnikoff

award as the top receiver in the nation.

Linemen love

When South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was selected No. 1 overall by Houston on Thursday, he became the 14th defensive lineman in NFL history to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick and only the second player from South Carolina to be chosen No. 1 overall. The other was running back George Rogers in 1981.

The other No. 1 defensive linemen were Buck Buchanan, Kansas City, 1963; Bubba Smith, Baltimore Colts, 1967; Walt Patulski, Buffalo, 1972; John Matuszak, Houston, 1973; Ed Jones, Dallas, 1974; Lee Roy Selmon, Tampa Bay, 1976; Kenneth Sims, New England, 1982; Bruce Smith, Buffalo, Bruce Smith; Russell Maryland, Dallas, 1991; Steve Emtman, Indianapolis, 1992; Dan Wilkinson, Cincinnati, 1994; Courtney Brown, Cleveland, 2000; and Mario Williams, Houston, 2006.

Dolphins add beef

Miami acquired much-needed help for their offensive line by picking Tennessee tackle Ja’Wuan James with the 19th pick. The Dolphins badly need blockers, and opted for one even after four offensive linemen were taken among the first 16 picks. Like many others, they passed on a chance to take Manziel.

The pick was the first by new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey. He replaced Jeff Ireland, who departed in part because of his lack of success in recent drafts.

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